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of Psychological Complexes

by Dane Rudhyar

Chapter Eleven
Venus in the Natal Chart

If I attempt now to sum up the contents of the preceding chapters I shall state first of all that behind every desire to act and to express one's self in an outward manner (Mars) there is some kind of value, incentive, directing image or feeling — psychological factors which all refer to the Venus function. Symbolically speaking, Mars refers to the process of "germination" at all levels, and germination presupposes a "seed." Venus rules over all "seed," whether it be the concrete seed of biological organisms or some corresponding factor in the realm of psychological, mental and spiritual activity. Just as a few basic seed-ideas, archetypes (Jung) or prime symbols (Spengler) are to be found at the origin of every culture and religion, so every individual person is determined in his behavior (Mars) by a few basic images, feelings or personal leit-motives which he has built within his psyche as the result of early life experiences. If these crystallize and acquire a compulsive, unconscious or semi-conscious power, they take the character of psychological complexes; but even if they remain adjustable and influenced by new experiences and greater knowledge or wisdom, they are still the power behind the throne of the ego, conditioning the individual's desire for self-expression in outward acts.
      Venus, as such a positive behavior-determining factor in man's inner life, is related mainly to the zodiacal sign Libra (her "day house") and to the fall equinox, the symbolic time at which the mature seed is released from the plant that bore it. Venus, as ruler of the spring sign Taurus (her "night house") is, on the other hand, subservient to the positive Mars-in-Aries, the energy at the core of the vernal equinox period. Venus is then that which gives substance to the Martian impulse and outward initiative. It is the woman who "bears children to" her man and concretizes his desire for self-extension into a progeny. Thus, generally speaking, Venus in the early Vernal signs of the zodiac is largely dependent upon the Mars function which gives it direction and purpose; it is Venus as an instinctual power of fertility. But when placed in autumnal signs, Venus acquires a very positive determining energy which dominates, for good or bad, the emotional life.
      The dualism of autumnal and vernal polarities, which finds expression in the zodiacal position of Venus, is not, however, the only dualism which can be associated with the Venus function. Both ancient mythology and traditional astrology have considered Venus as a star-performer in two alternate roles; as evening and morning star — Venus Hesperus seen in the western sky immediately after sunset, and Venus Lucifer in the eastern sky at dawn, herald of sunrise. In astrological terms, Venus Hesperus is a Venus whose zodiacal longitude is greater than that of the Sun (for instance, Sun in Libra O°, Venus in Libra 10°). Venus Lucifer is Venus with a longtitude less than that of the Sun, thus rising ahead of the Sun.
      It is unfortunate that so little attention has been given to the double role of Venus, except perhaps by astrologers dealing with alchemical symbolism. A great wealth of significance can be found in this Venusian dualism if it is carefully related to a psychological study of the emotional life — and, most likely, also to that of glandular activity in the physical organism.
      Venus Lucifer, as morning star "rising ahead" of the Sun, refers to a type of emotional activity which might be said symbolically to run ahead of the self. This does not mean necessarily an extroverted or especially intense or unrestrained type of emotional life — even though it often tends to have such a general meaning. It describes originally a person who goes out to meet the world (and especially other human beings) with an eager expectancy as if life itself depended upon the results of the meeting; nevertheless, if this expectancy has been shocked and turned into a sense of profound disappointment, the person may seem to be externally cold and retiring-a coldness which is only a mask of self-protection.
      Venus Lucifer is represented by the quality of feeling of adolescence. The antennae of the feeling-life are stretched out to the utmost. There is a basic sense of personal insecurity, and the feelings are primarily depended upon to serve as guides and signposts. In later life, these feelings may be given the more mature and respectable name of "intuitions"; yet essentially the nature of the process remains the same. The individual "feels" situations and persons in an act of almost immediate ethical judgment. They are good or bad — for him and at that particular time. He acts as he feels he must act, and there often emanates from him a strong contagion of feelings, a "warmth of feelings." In this class we find the following names taken at random: Walt Whitman, Richard Wagner, Van Gogh, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Napoleon I, Mussolini, Maria Montessori (the grand educator), F. D.Roosevelt — and the U.S.A. birth chart.
      Venus, as evening star, is a symbol of feeling after the act; that is, of the type of emotion which results from and is a judgment upon an action having been performed. This kind of judgment is usually a graded one; the action has been a "test" and the wiseman-within-the-soul sits in judgment and gives to the man-of-action a "grade" after studying the case. The judgment is either esthetical (it considers the value of the relationship between all significant factors in the case) or legalistic (thus according to traditional standards and precedents).
      Venus Hesperus might be called theoretically an indication of greater emotional maturity or wisdom; but actually, this "maturity" may be that of the "change of life," a time when an individual's complexes catch up with him and induce a crucial psychological crisis. Indeed many persons with Venus rising after the Sun may be highly emotional, but this emotionality is not as spontaneous and immediate as when Venus is morning star in a birthchart. It is a tense, perhaps passionate and at times destructive kind of emotionality — because, when there is excess or violence of emotional activity, this excess or violence is the secondary result of frustrations and fears.
      In other cases, Venus Hesperus indicates a type of emotional life strongly influenced by traditional and cultural or spiritual values — the emotional life of aristocratic men and women. A list of well-known persons born while Venus was an evening star would include George Washington, Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Wilkie, Henry Wallace, Eisenhower, H. P. Blavatsky, Francis Bacon, Einstein, Winston Churchill — and, as well, the charts of England and of the United Kingdom.
      An interesting example of the distinction between Venus Lucifer and Venus Hesperus is given by the chart for the Declaration of Independence and that for the time when the Constitution was adopted de facto as a result of being ratified by nine States (June 21, 1788). In the former, Venus is morning star; in the latter' it is far "behind" the Sun. The Declaration of Independence was adopted in a mood of emotional intensity and heralded as a yet-unrealized reality; but the process of formulating and ratifying the Constitution involved a long-drawn-out discussion and judgment as to the value of federalism. However, in the Inauguration chart of April 30, 1789, Venus is again morning star. The period of discussion was ended, a new beginning was made, a new "feeling ahead" toward self-expression as a national unit under an executive head.
      Venus as morning star is the power which builds "magnetic fields" and archetypes; that is, which gives form to the spiritual release of solar energy, source of all manifestation — not however, a concrete, physical form, such as belongs to the realm of Saturn, but an archetypal-spiritual pattern of energy, a web of electromagnetic forces. The individual with a strong natal Venus Lucifer normally seeks to project his "vision and purpose" upon life; to impress the rhythm of his essential being upon society. He feels himself a herald, a mouth-piece of God. He pours his self emotionally and often proudly into his creations. This emotional outpouring may be neutralized by other factors in the total personality — other planets or negative aspects to Venus; still, even if frustrated, it can usually be detected as a characteristic element.
      Individuals born with Venus as evening star may be in appearance just as "emotional" as those with Venus as morning star; but, where it is so, one can find usually some basic inferiority complex or mother-complex against which the person reacts in an aggressive manner, or by a forced type of creative outpouring. A typical case was Theodore Roosevelt whose natal Venus rose behind the Sun, but whose personality was stamped by the power of an opposition of Mars rising to the Moon, and by an elevated Sun in Scorpio. Venus in Sagittarius was also opposed by Jupiter and squared by Neptune (both planets being retrograde); and Venus stood on the cusp of the 12th house. Add to these the fact that Saturn squared the opposition of Pluto to a Sun-Mercury conjunction, and you have a pattern revealing extraordinary tensions. Teddy Roosevelt was able to release the power which these generated and thus avoided being destroyed by them, but such a release carried the mark of aggressiveness — the "big stick policy."
      When Mercury rises ahead of the Sun and Venus behind the Sun, Mercury can often substitute for the "Luciferian" aspect of the Venus function. Mental pride, tinged with emotionalism, replaces the typical emotional pride of the Luciferian ego. Emotions are used as a means to an end by the mind, because a basic sense of emotional insecurity may forbid the spontaneous "warmth of feelings" of the typical Venus Lucifer. Indeed it may be hard to separate what is of the mind and what of the emotions in any analysis of personality; but, by studying carefully the relative positions of Mercury and Venus with reference to the Sun the astrologer can orient himself in the maze of a complex psychological nature far more safely than the usual psychologist who sees only empirical results — what his client tells him, what he can detect in his appearance and behavior — but not the primary structural pattern of the personality (the natal chart).
      Another kind of dualism is revealed by an astrological study of the Venus function, according to whether Venus' motion in the sky is "direct" or "retrograde." I have previously discussed the meaning of the direct and retrograde motions of the planets and stated that this meaning is fundamentally derived from the fact that a "direct" planet moves in the direction of the Sun and Moon (symbols of the bi-polar life force), a "retrograde" planet against it. I also pointed out that a retrograde natal Mercury does not indicate a weak, dull or lazy mind, but a mind which operates basically in counterpoint to the instinctual nature and the flow of the life-force. When Mercury is retrograde one finds that the vital drives or impulses of the Sun and the most characteristic trends of mental activity are in contrast, perhaps in conflict; yet this state of affairs can be the very condition required for spiritual growth or personality-development at certain stages of evolution of the permanent Identity of the individual.
      The same type of analysis applies to the case of Venus retrograde; with this difference, however, that Venus and Mars are retrograde only for a short portion of their synodic cycles. The average cycle between two superior conjunctions of Venus and the Sun last 584 days (about one year and seven months), and its retrograde phase — during which the inferior conjunction occurs — only about six weeks. This is the shortest time a planet spends being retrograde relatively to the length of its complete cycle; which means that it is rarer for a person to be born with Venus retrograde than with any other planet retrograde.
      This fact must obviously be significant if there is any value whatsoever in astrological symbolism. Psychologically speaking, it refers primarily to the close connection there is between the life-force and the emotions. Venus and Mars represent the most immediate and intimate manifestations of the personal life, the realization in feeling and the expression in acts of the "I am I, this particular and unique person." And if Venus is symbolically the source of this sense of "I," the life-force that streams forth originally from the Sun is the "Am" that gives substance and reality to the "I." To feel alive is a requirement for the realization of "I" — at least in terms of earthly existence.
      Nevertheless there are cases in which this sense of "being I" develops, as it were, against the instinctual flow of the vital forces of the human organism. There are people whose sense of value runs counter to their natural instincts; people, for instance, who are born with the tendency to be ascetics and to fight against the normal demands of their organs and glands; people who seek to curb and perhaps annihilate their spontaneous sense of being individual souls, either because of the urge for self-transfiguration and holiness, or because of their becoming a prey to powerful disintegrative forces that tend to destroy the sense of spiritual Identity in any individual. It is to these and other psychological conditions that Venus retrograde in a birth-chart refers.
      A significant illustration is provided by the chart of Annie Besant, first an advocate of birth-control, then a prominent Theosophist and President of the Theosophical Society with headquarters at Adyar, South India. Mrs. Besant was born in England, October 1, 1847, with a Libra Sun in the 6th house, behind which came a retrograde Venus. Mars in Taurus (1st house) is also retrograde, and Uranus retrograde is rising in Aries. Saturn and Neptune are also retrograde, Mercury in Libra is direct, but rising behind the Sun (i.e. Epimethean), Jupiter is direct and conjunct the Moon in the lst house and Cancer — thus squaring the Aries-Libra planets.
      Such a chart suggests the strongest possible kind of "ascetic" type; that is to say, a person whose emotional and social life is founded upon self-denial and rebellion against tradition, whose life energies are bent inward under the sway of a tense Uranian will for self-transformation. Venus and the Moon are, however, exceedingly strong by zodiacal positions and aspects; the feelings are very intense but working under conditions of constant psychological crisis. All positive values are given to the mental functions (Mercury and Jupiter are the only direct planets (besides the Sun and Moon which are always direct), but Mercury and Jupiter are in square, and Uranus exactly opposes Mercury. The Sun had just set at birth; the fall equinox (the yearly "setting" of the Sun, one might say) had recently occurred; and birth occurred in a lunation cycle bounded by two eclipses.
      Annie Besant's long crusade for birth control is an illustration, at one level, of her opposition to the natural flow of the life-force. Later, as a Theosophist, she combined a passionate eagerness for spiritual transfiguration and "occult" powers, and a dramatic desire to serve selflessly humanity and "higher Beings," with a great deal of mental pride. Indeed, she was an extraordinary personality symbolized by a very unusual type of birth-chart.
      A very different chart is that of the French President, Charles de Gaulle, who became the living symbol of the greatness of his nation. In it also we find Venus retrograde and evening star — and the General's deeply mystical temperament was well known. Here we find a man whose emotions were set in a mould thoroughly defined by a national and religious tradition; a man without much personal warmth but with an almost compulsive devotion to a cultural ideal which made of him the symbol of his nation.
      The English astrologer, Alan Leo, was born also with Venus (and Mercury and Mars and Neptune!) retrograde; Venus, however, was morning star. He was a Theosophist and profoundly influenced by the occultist's approach to life. He helped considerably the renascence of astrology in English-speaking countries and thus the spread of a type of values and thinking which ran against the trend of the English 19th century civilization.
      The position of Venus (geocentrically calculated) can never be more than 47 degrees distant from that of the Sun — making then a semi-square aspect to it. After reaching this distance to the Sun, Venus, which has already begun to slow down, comes gradually to a stop and retrogresses, making a loop in the sky. At inferior conjunction Venus is found at her closest proximity to our earth, and thus near that time glows with her greatest brilliancy; then the planet turns direct again and speeds away from the Sun in the zodiac, reaching her greatest speed (around 1°15' per day) after the superior conjunction, i.e. when the Sun is between her and our earth.
      I mention these astronomical facts because the difference between the two kinds of conjunctions of Venus to Sun is not only one of the direction of Venus' motion, but also of the speed of this motion. At "inferior conjunction," Venus is not only retrograde but slow — and also close to the earth and near days of great brilliancy. At "superior conjunction" Venus is direct and as fast as it ever can be. The usual astrological textbook simply speaks of "conjunctions of Venus and the Sun," as if all conjunctions had the same meaning. This is obviously not so, at least at the psychological level. One should also realize that as the most distant aspect between Venus and the Sun is the semi-square (45°), the relationship between these two great astrological factors in a birth-chart cannot be defined primarily by the "aspect" they make to each other. Only two of the usually acknowledged aspects are possible, the semi-square and the semi-sextile (30°).
      The former may be called a discord, the latter a concord; yet to say this does not give enough light upon the natural relationship between the Sun and Venus — and this is a basic relationship where the study of the personal life and the feelings is concerned. It is for this reason that the distinction between Venus Lucifer and Venus Hesperus is so important, and it is wise to add to the study (in close psychological analysis) the more subtle characteristics derived from the speed at which Venus moves at the time of birth — and also perhaps (as Charles Jayne has suggested) a consideration of whether this motion is accelerating, "decelerating" (becoming slower) or maintaining its speed.
      In conclusion it seems important to add some remarks which refer to Hitler's nativity because many astrologers have been reluctant to admit that Hitler could have Libra as his rising sign, Libra having the reputation of being a "harmonious" sign of the zodiac. However, the basic truth of astrology is that every factor in a chart can be either positive or negative, constructive or destructive. In fact the totalitarian ideal is "harmonic" inasmuch as harmony literally means the process of becoming one. The totalitarian state aims at unanimity, but this unanimity is of a negative kind and is based on the ruthless exclusion of all that refuse to be coerced into unity. Hitler's character was eminently Libran in a negative way; but his planetary ruler, Venus, was retrograde, in conjunction with Mars in Taurus, and in square to a 10th house Saturn in Leo. A very "strong" Venus indeed according to the usual astrological way of measuring the strength of the planets, but a strength turned against life.
      The Sabian symbol for the degree of Hitler's Venus-Mars conjunction (Taurus 7°) is: "A symbolical battle between 'Swords' and 'Torches' " (Tarot cards.) Here then we find focused the battle between might and enlightenment which has been rending our humanity at the threshold of the immense possibilities which the Industrial Revolution — and now atomic power —have opened. The whole emotional and personal life of the Fuehrer was concentrated on that point; he became the symbol of this struggle for millions. The violent character of the way he solved the problem for himself and the world can be seen in the fact that the retrograde Venus was just about to fall, as it were, into Mars' arms: a surrender of "values" to "violence," of the "inner" to the "outer."
      The conjunctions of Mars with retrograde Venus are special features of the cycle of the Mars-Venus relationship. At every fifth conjunction of Mars and Venus, Venus is retrograde, and this occurs about every 77 months. These special conjunctions have moreover a cycle of recurrence in the same zodiacal sign (with a lag of about 7°20') of nearly 32 years. They mark indeed moments of great intensity in the emotional life of humanity. At these times, men should be able to reorient their sense of values and their emotional attitudes, to repolarize their feeling of "I am I" and sow new seeds of action.
      Hitler did this, in his own way — a dark way. Thirty-two years after his birth, Mars and Venus retrograde once more met in Taurus (April, 1921). The German Worker's Party had been organized a year before. Hitler was on his way to power, as the old cultural structures of Germany were being dissolved by inflation. Anything might have happened — even a great spiritual metamorphosis. What did happen is now past history.

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1966 and 1976 by Dane Rudhyar
All Rights Reserved.

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